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Nose and Nasal Cavity | Structure & Functions
The nose and nasal cavity make up the first portion of the upper respiratory tract. Their locations and structures are best viewed when the head is shown in sagittal section.
Protruding prominently from the face, the nose serves as a vent for air exchange.
Two openings called anterior nares (or nostrils; exterior nares) allow air to enter the nose and pass into the nasal cavity. Individually, each opening is referred to as an anterior naris.
Inside the nasal cavity, inhaled air is warmed, moistened, and cleaned so it can travel safely into other parts of the respiratory tract.
The nasal cavity also contains structures to detect chemical odorants and resonate the voice. After circulating over the nasal cavity structures, air passes into the pharynx through two posterior nares (or choanae; internal nares). Individually, each opening is referred to as a posterior naris.
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